Stephen F. Austin to Arthur G. Wavell, undated, circa 1824

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Arthur G. Wavell was an English soldier of fortune who became a brigadier general in the Mexican army. He befriended Moses Austin, and after his death, helped Stephen F. Austin transfer the empresario grant to his name. Wavell was enthusiastic about Texas colonization and became a full partner in the Austin colony, even traveling to England to raise capital for the venture. However, the agreement fell through, and Wavell never realized any money from the venture or recouped the loans he had made to Austin.

In 1824, Wavell decided to become an empresario himself, and wrote to Austin for advice. This letter represents Austin's state of mind at the time. In spite of Austin's negativity, Wavell did apply for and receive a grant to settle colonists in East Texas in partnership with Ben Milam. But perhaps he should have taken Austin's advice. The colony was a failure, and Wavell lost his claim during the Texas Revolution. He spent years in court trying to recover his costs without success.

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Stephen F. Austin letter to Arthur G. Wavell, 1824

Dr Wavel I rec'd a few lines from you a day or two
ago without date or signature post marked
in Mexico. You ask how I am getting on
to which I answer not very well — and I assure
you I am heartily sick of the whole business
and shall gain nothing by it but losses &
fatigue, and if you wish to keep out of trouble
let Colonization matters alone, either here
or any where else — The grant I rec'd was
to settle 300 families agreeably to the Col [on]
ization law, for which my ag [damaged original]
22 1/2 leagues of land — the half of which be[long]
to my friend in Orleans so that I ha [ve?]
11 1/4 leagues for my share — you blame[d]
me for not writing to you in London. I did
write often by way of Orleans, & if I had en[cour]
aged you to bring out goods to a large amt.
perhaps you would have blamed me more.
I have spent more in this damned affair than
it will ever be worth — we are burnt up by
the drouth and there is some

Stephen F. Austin to Arthur G. Wavell, undated, circa 1824. Arthur G. Wavell Papers, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: August 19, 2011